Nova Scotia Health Insurance
Nova Scotia’s Health Insurance Programs are designed to provide eligible residents with coverage for medically required hospital, medical, dental and optometry services with some restrictions.
The Medical Services Insurance (MSI) Programs are administered by Medavie Blue Cross on behalf of the Nova Scotia government. The Hospital Insurance Program is administered directly by the Department of Health and Wellness. The cost of providing these services to Nova Scotians is met through the general revenues of the province. Temporary Foreign Workers pay no premiums.
To be eligible for Nova Scotia Medical Services Insurance (MSI) benefits, you must have a valid work permit for a minimum of one full year (from the date of your arrival).
Application forms are available by calling MSI toll-free within Nova Scotia at 1-800-563-8880. Once your application has been processed, you and your eligible family members will receive your Nova Scotia Health Cards.
Once you receive your Nova Scotia Health Card, please sign it and carry it with you at all times. You must present it to the physician and/or hospital each time you need insured hospital or physician services.
Your Nova Scotia Health Coverage:
- Your NS Health Card expires after 4 years
- If you move to another province, you need to apply for a new health card from that province
- If you travel inside Canada, you are covered by MSI for up to 3 months
- If you travel outside of Canada, you need to contact the MSI office. MSI only pays for emergency services while traveling
- Update the MSI office of any address changes or changes to your status (married, divorced, etc.).
- You may want to get private health insurance while you are waiting for your card or to supplement your coverage
- MSI does not cover:
- most dental services (check-ups, cleanings, braces, etc.)
- prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs
- health aids (crutches, hearing aids, glasses, wheelchairs, etc.)
- non-required checkups and tests
- patient requested surgeries
- alternative medical treatments (chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc.)
- private or semi-private hospital rooms
Visit Health and Wellness Nova Scotia for more information.
Private Health Insurance
- Many people buy private health insurance
- It can help to pay for things not covered by MSI (e.g., dental, prescriptions, eyeglasses, private hospital rooms, travel insurance and alternative treatments)
- The cost of health insurance depends on many things, such as your plan type, your age and your health
- You may be able to receive health benefits through your job
- The following companies offer private health insurance in Canada:
- Call 811 to receive free non-emergency health information
- Speak to a registered nurse
- They can answer health questions and give you advice and information
- They may tell you to see a doctor or go to the emergency room
- Interpreters are available
- Visit Healthlink 811 for more information
- Many places in Canada have walk-in medical clinics for non-emergency health problems
- There are advantages such as:
- you may be able to see a doctor much faster
- you do not need to make an appointment
- they may be open on weekends and evenings
- Check the internet or your local telephone listings for walk-in clinic information and locations in your area
- You should choose a pharmacy that is close to your home
- Ask the pharmacist about the medication (i.e., how to take it, side effects)
- You can sometimes order a refill over the phone or online
- Pharmacies also sell over-the-counter medicines for things such as a cold, the flu, headache, upset stomach or diarrhea, and other convenient household items
- Check the internet or your local telephone listings for pharmacy information and locations in your area
Nova Scotia Family Pharmacare Program
- This program helps people who do not have drug coverage with a private insurance company or who have high drug costs not covered by private insurance
- The program helps pay for prescription medications, supplies and related services
- You need a valid Nova Scotia Health Card to be in the program
- You need to complete a registration form (1 per family) to be eligible for the program
- Visit NS Family Pharmacare Program for more information
- If there is a healthcare emergency (e.g., heart attack, stroke, severe burn, loss of consciousness), you should call 911 immediately
- Remain calm; tell the 911 operator why you are calling and answer their questions
- They will send an ambulance to your location
- You may need to pay for the ambulance ($134.52)
- In some situations, you may want to go to the emergency room of the closest hospital instead